People in Kansas always knew I was from Oklahoma because of the phrases I used.
I don't think of myself as a country boy by any means and the complete awkwardness I felt when the youth group at Ninnekah First Baptist Church took me snipe hunting in middle school would confirm that.
I don't hunt. My dad never really did so I didn't get into it, but I can catch any kind of fish you want. In the past year, I have caught bass, catfish, rainbow trout, crappie and white bass. I have a freezer full of evidence if you want to have a fish fry.
So I have some country boy street cred. (Would that be dirt road cred? But I digress.) The only other thing about me that is "country" is my use of funny sayings when I make a point.
Our words give us away.
That seems to be the case in Mississippi as their sitting Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith at a campaign stop responded to praise by a farmer by saying, "If he invited me to a public hanging, I would be on the front row."
I guess that is one way of saying "I really like this guy."
The "crooked letter crooked letter" state's governor said he felt bad for her because those mistakes are easy to make.
"We make a lot of speeches," Gov. Phil Bryant said. "All of us in public life have said things we could have phrased better."
That is true. I write a lot of columns. There have been times I wanted to unwrite a few of them.
But I have never used attendance at a lynching as a standard of affection for someone.
Who has that phrase in their menu of possible sayings?
I could say a lot of things and I would never reference a public hanging. It just wouldn't happen. And no matter how nice someone was to me, I would never say I would be on the front row for one.
The fact that Hyde-Smith has that reference is telling. She is a Senator from Mississippi, a state that was home to more lynchings of black citizens than any other. If anyone should know better, it is someone from that state.
Of course, Hyde-Smith blamed the media and those darn liberals for putting a "negative connotation" on her comments.
Her statement said, “In a comment on Nov. 2, I referred to accepting an invitation to a speaking engagement. In referencing the one who invited me, I used an exaggerated expression of regard, and any attempt to turn this into a negative connotation is ridiculous.”
Yes, she meant the public hanging comment in a positive way. Gov. Bryant also chastised those who twist and turn simple comments about attending a public hanging into something less honorable.
What is the unoffensive way that this comment was made? How should it have been construed?
The fact that Hyde-Smith is running against Mike Espy, a black congressman, in a runoff is another interesting layer to this story.
There is no way that a black Democrat should win a Senate race in Mississippi. But the Republicans found a way to give up a seat to Doug Jones in Alabama. If Mississippi doesn't vote out Hyde-Smith now, you might as well stop taking down those Civil War monuments.
Gov. Bryant wants people to believe that there was no ill will in Hyde-Smith's comment. Like all of us, Hyde-Smith's word choice gives her away.
Her failure to apologize or do anything other than blame others for her obviously offensive word choice should disqualify her in Mississippi.
I don't know if it will, but it should.